Tuesday 6 December 2016

Dublin North-West

Social Democrats (1), Sinn Fein (1), Fine Gael (1).

Published 18/01/2016 | 14:28

WITH sitting TDs Roisin Shortall and Dessie Ellis all but certain to be returned, Dublin North West is likely to come down to a dogfight for the third and final seat.

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Labour deputy John Lyons has had his Dáil highs and lows since being elected on the back of the ‘Gilmore Gale’ in 2011 and knows he is facing a serious battle to be returned. The affable TD from Ballymun benefitted significantly from Shortall’s surplus five years ago - a luxury no longer available due to her defection to the Social Democrats.

If he does lose his seat, Lyons will more than likely return to his teaching profession, knowing that he played an integral role in the Yes campaign in the Marriage Equality referendum.

For Fine Gael, winning a seat in Dublin North West would represent a notable milestone. It is the only constituency in the country that does not have a Fine Gael TD.

That is why there is significant pressure, and expectation, being placed on the shoulders of the young, hardworking councillor Noel Rock.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has taken a personal interest in Rock’s campaign and has assigned a close political ally to work with the DCU graduate.

For Rock, who claims no expenses for his council work, he is crucial that he finishes ahead of his Fianna Fáil rival Paul McAuliffe.

The Fianna Fáil leader on Dublin City Council should not be ruled out ahead of polling day. But Fianna Fáil strategists have not pencilled in Dublin North West as a likely constituency to make a much needed gain in the capital.

The outcome of the constituency will be decided on transfers after Shortall, a prolific Dáil performer, and Ellis are elected. Given Sinn Féin’s extraordinary ability to drum up support in working class areas, the performance of Ellis’s running mate councillor Cathleen Carney Boud will prove interesting.

Carney Boud’s selection was controversial. Both she and councillor Noeleen O’Reilly contested the convention - but there was widespread shock after O’Reilly’s own Ballymun branch failed to nominate her. O’Reilly subsequently complained to headquarters.

Sinn Féin’s Dublin chairman Eamonn O’Reilly, who is also a member of the branch, stepped down from his position temporarily as the party conducted an inquiry. He took the decision to ensure there was no perceived conflict of interest, according to party sources.

Councillor Carney Boud was selected and added as Ellis’s running mate.

Elsewhere, the Green Party is running Caroline Conroy, while Andrew Keegan is representing the Anti Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit (AAA/PBP).

Jimmy Dignam of the Worker’s Party and Cormac McKay of Direct Democracy Ireland complete the field.

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